Thursday, January 19, 2012

Hierarchy Amongst Educational Professionals

     To me, there seems to be a systemic problem of embedded hierarchy and perceived abilities contributing to a disconnect amongst educational professionals, similar to that of business people.

     Some teachers do not respect their paraprofessionals opinions because they are not certified, or do not hold a Masters degree. Administrators do not respect the teachers under them because they do not hold the same level of certification. Behavior analysts do not see themselves on the same playing field as the therapists that work WITH and under them.

     Interestingly, I do not necessarily see these issues arise in other aspects of education because, simply, you need a certain level of terminal education to work in these roles. For instance, you cannot formally practice social work in the schools without a MSW and certification to work in schools.

    That been said, I find it ridiculous that an educator at any level look down upon any other professional with whom they may or may not work. Being a professional in education requires teamwork. Not just as they interact directly, on a day to day basis, but also in the general field.

     As educators, we always speak about meaningful experiences and hidden curriculum and educating the whole child. So why is it, then, that when we become certified educators, we care about how much direct experience in education someone has, or their credentialing? It's absurd. As if hash-marks of service mean you are effective. Or that having a Masters degree makes you any more capable of reading and applying research.

     This problem may be an evolutionary trait, but it's one that needs to stop. Do not tell your paraprofessional they cannot attend a professional development seminar because it's not appropriate given their responsibilities. Once they attend that seminar, they are more informed on the topic. The individuals who "outrank" others should be MORE inclined to recommend, share, and create opportunities for their "subordinates" to learn and grow and develop their skill set. After all, it would better benefit that superior to have others who can bear some of their daily responsibilities.

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